Officer Andrew Cohen made headlines in recent years for the videos he produced spoofing the SFPD. The videos were intended to be a humorous sendoff to former police captain Rick Bruce and poke fun at the officers at his station. They were also intended to be internal -- but they got out, and things got out of hand.
Cohen recently published a guest editorial over at Fog City Journal, discussing his recent court victory. His initial four-day suspension at the hands of Police Chief Heather Fong after the scandal broke was overturned, as it skirted department rules. Cohen is still waiting for a commission hearing that will determine if he's guilty of misconduct for posting the videos.
All of this is well documented. We wanted to take this opportunity with Cohen to ask about more than the "VideoGate" scandal, rather than just rehashing what most of us already know. We sought the 12-year-vet's opinion on the state of policing in the city, his perspective on local politics and political figures, and what comes next for him.
1) From your perspective, what are the major hurdles facing the police department today? Specifically, there's been much made about shootings, and our readership is constantly debating where the problem lies: lack of funding, lack of manpower, and/or ineffective deployment of the resources already in place. What's your take on those theories? Is there something else? Especially since you were stationed in the Bayview for so long, we're very interested in your perspective.
Shootings are a very difficult topic to cover. While many are quick to point the finger, normally in an attempt to lash out at a rival or disliked politician, there are also a number of activists who are motivated by sheer hopeful recognition of their respective causes. Meanwhile, the real victims, normally the quietist amongst them all, are the residents in the areas that are hardest hit by these senseless killings. In my experience, these are the folks who are scared to death, literally, of the retaliatory violence that is most certain to come if they are caught opening their mouths ("snitches get ditches"). And, as always, the lowly Police Officer will take the brunt of the blame simply due to the graphic adage, and Physics 101: “Shit rolls downhill”.
More -- much more -- from Cohen after the jump. Photo courtesy of Andrew Cohen.